400,625 research outputs found

    Elementary immunology

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    The Self Model and the Conception of Biological Identity in Immunology

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    The self/non-self model, first proposed by F.M. Burnet, has dominated immunology for sixty years now. According to this model, any foreign element will trigger an immune reaction in an organism, whereas endogenous elements will not, in normal circumstances, induce an immune reaction. In this paper we show that the self/non-self model is no longer an appropriate explanation of experimental data in immunology, and that this inadequacy may be rooted in an excessively strong metaphysical conception of biological identity. We suggest that another hypothesis, one based on the notion of continuity, gives a better account of immune phenomena. Finally, we underscore the mapping between this metaphysical deflation from self to continuity in immunology and the philosophical debate between substantialism and empiricism about identity

    A statistical mechanics approach to autopoietic immune networks

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    The aim of this work is to try to bridge over theoretical immunology and disordered statistical mechanics. Our long term hope is to contribute to the development of a quantitative theoretical immunology from which practical applications may stem. In order to make theoretical immunology appealing to the statistical physicist audience we are going to work out a research article which, from one side, may hopefully act as a benchmark for future improvements and developments, from the other side, it is written in a very pedagogical way both from a theoretical physics viewpoint as well as from the theoretical immunology one. Furthermore, we have chosen to test our model describing a wide range of features of the adaptive immune response in only a paper: this has been necessary in order to emphasize the benefit available when using disordered statistical mechanics as a tool for the investigation. However, as a consequence, each section is not at all exhaustive and would deserve deep investigation: for the sake of completeness, we restricted details in the analysis of each feature with the aim of introducing a self-consistent model.Comment: 22 pages, 14 figur

    T cell receptor signalling in gamma delta cell development: strength isn't everything

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    Published version can be found here: http://www.cell.com/trends/immunology/abstract/S1471-4906%2811%2900153-0
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